You can’t buy stock in it on the markets yet but the growing Sasha Jacob/Khurram Malik-steered cannabis play Biome Grow (soon to be RTOed into OAA.C) is adding to its roster with a name that announces some fairly serious intentions, according to news dropped Monday.
Orca Touchscreen Technologies Ltd. target Biome Grow has appointed Steven Poirier, former president of Moosehead Breweries Ltd. and a senior executive in Canada’s alcohol beverage industry, to the board of directors of Biome, effective immediately.
Biome’s got themselves a booze guy!
And not just any booze guy. They got themselves a stone cold killer in the booze biz.
As president of Moosehead Breweries, Mr. Poirier oversaw the company’s three operating divisions. Moosehead Breweries is the third largest brewery in Canada and holds the largest share of the beer market in New Brunswick.
More recently, Mr. Poirier was senior vice-president of sales with Arterra Wines Canada (formerly Constellation Brands), the world leader in premium wine that also dominates the Canadian wine segment.
Prior to Constellation, Mr. Poirier served as vice-president, general manager, with Treasury Wine Estates, the third largest wine company in the world and the second largest imported wine company in Canada.
Biome came ready to play.
“Biome is excited to have Steven join our board of directors. His relationships across Atlantic Canada and his pan-Canadian alcohol beverage marketing and distributing expertise is second to none,” said Khurram Malik, president and chief executive officer of Biome Grow. “And, as we have seen from Constellation’s strategic investment in the sector, Steven’s industry relationships and expertise position Biome well to capitalize on the potential investments we expect to see from other large alcohol beverage players.”
Biome just stepped out of the grow box and onto the branding stage. This is a big deal.
Why is this important?
Put this on a fucking billboard so investors will understand it:
Statistics Canada’s 2016 Community Health Survey showed that 17 per cent of Canadians smoke, while close to 77 per cent of Canadians drink alcohol.
If you’re growing weed for the enthusiast crowd, and that’s where you draw the line on future potential, you’re the guy growing barley and hops, not the guy bottling the Budweiser.
The cannabis business isn’t about smoking any more than the vitamin D business is about scraping lanolin off sheep’s wool and sticking it in gel tabs.
Consumer products that steer clear of cannabis leaf designs and getting you ‘lit to the shitter’ are what’s next, and that’s going to bring in a way bigger market of people who don’t want/need to get stoned, but maybe want to sleep better, or think clearer, or have less pain, or get a little crazy on a Friday night but not sacrifice their Saturday morning, or trigger a roadside test.
In a year, you and I won’t drink vodka, we’ll drink weedka. We won’t drink Red Bull, we’ll drink Green Bull. We won’t take a multi vitamin gummy unless it has CBD inside. Goodbye Oxycontin, hello Jamieson’s Essentials Organic Pain Relief.
To be clear, growing weed has always been the ‘stuff we can do now’, not the ‘stuff that will bring in billions.’ In fact, having to keep a million square foot grow heated and secured, to me, makes less sense than having a fat extraction facility that buys from anyone selling cheap and turns green into gold.
The beverage business, alcoholic and otherwise, is the lowest hanging fruit for weed 3.0.
There are already quite a few weed drinks on the market, spanning from cannabis-infused milk, coffee, and tea to trendier beverages such as matcha, kombucha, and cold-brew coffee. But there’s plenty more room for innovation with the alcohol industry’s growing interest in cannabis.
Constellation Brands, the liquor giant behind Corona and Modelo, announced earlier this year that they’ll be making cannabis beverages for Canada’s new recreational market, set to open in October. They’ve already invested $200 million in Canadian cannabis cultivator Canopy Growth Corp.
Lagunitas Brewing just announced that they’ll be introducing a line of weed drinks too. Hi-Fi Hops—which includes weed drinks with varying amounts of CBD and THC—will be available in California.
This is an important step for Biome, which already has one licensed grow and is at various levels of approval/construction with others.
The addition to their board brings them in line with the fine folks at Canopy Growth (WEED.T), which has the deal with Constellation Brands mentioned above, Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD.T), which has got their C-suite riddled with soda guys and acquired some serious oil-to-product processing tech, Tinley Beverage (TNY.C), which is developing de-alcoholized THC-enhanced drink brands, and Sproutly (SPR.C) which has acquired tech that would allow them to ‘wash’ cannabis elements into a water soluble solution – which would be perfect for beverages.
Meanwhile, Maricann (MARI.C) and Supreme Cannabis (FIRE.V) have both signed MOUs with liquor store representatives to work closely with retail chains opening up to alcohol/cannabis sales, and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.T) went out and bought themselves a few hundred liquor stores, right before Aphria (APH.T) signed a VP of sales who has killed it selling for Molson Coors, Maxxium Wine & Spirits, and Beam Global Spirits & Wine.
Torsten Kuenzlen, a former executive for Coca Cola and Molson Coors, has taken the reins at Sundial Growers, which is private, and his mission is clearly booze-based.
“We know that virtually all alcohol companies are very carefully looking at the cannabis space and looking to partner in some shape or form. Those shapes can be anything from innovation alliances with pharma and nutraceuticals – and all the way to partial ownership. Today, alcohol companies are buying cannabis companies. We will see a time when cannabis companies start buying alcohol companies. Definitely within the next three to five years.”
Outside the public space, the race to claim ground the alcohol business is surrendering is heating up, even if I trust these particular guys as far as I could catapult them.
Province Brands is a Toronto-based startup, one of numerous ancillary weed businesses sprouting up in Canada’s largest city, in the wake of the country’s plan to legalize the use of recreational cannabis this summer. Technically speaking, Province’s main product — beer brewed from weed — will be illegal until 2019, which is when the government has promised to legalize edible cannabis products. But Wendschuh and his crew are charging ahead.
The market isn’t abuzz with Biome anticipation yet because the story isn’t yet fully told, and there’s suddenly a lot of new players bouncing onto the public markets that are elbowing for media coverage and trying to convince investors they’re real.
Watch this space, however, as Biome begins to reveal its engine.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Biome Grow is an Equity.Guru marketing client.